In the late summer of 1998, my life and faith and self-perception went through a major upheaval. It was like I had been walking along with every expectation that I knew myself and God very well, but then, in one unexpected revelatory moment, saw everything that I thought had been right-side-up turn suddenly upside-down.
Working through the aftermath of that revelation felt a bit like picking up all kinds of tiny pieces of my life and looking at each one intently, then slowly but surely and steadily putting the pieces back together in a more true, real way.
The following years were messy. Everything I thought made sense did not make sense anymore. I learned things about myself I’d never known before.
I learned things about God that were new too.
Many years later, reflecting on that difficult, long, yet redemptive season of my life, I came to realize what it actually means to be loved by God.
It means being met where we are.
Paul talks about this in his letter to the Philippians. He talks about Jesus, saying:
Jesus had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human.
— Philippians 2:5-7
I remember coming across these verses years after that upheaval happened and having an image in my mind of what had happened during that long and difficult season. Jesus left heaven and came to meet me there in my confusion and distress. I didn’t know who I was anymore, and he was with me through my struggle to understand.
He didn’t expect me to get it together and figure it out before I could be with him. Instead, he came to where I was in all my messiness and stayed with me there. I didn’t need to work my way to heaven to gain his presence and attention. Instead, he came to me.
Can you allow God to meet you where you are today? What would it be like to simply have the presence of another in the truth of your life? Can you allow that other presence to be God?